As we spend a lot of time keeping ourselves up to date with the design industry, through mediums such as magazines, blogs and the news, we tend to come across a lot of projects that catch our eye and really draw us in. The Creative Roundup is a new series where we share projects we've discovered and feel are worth shouting about, focusing on all areas of the design industry from architecture to graphic design, fashion to fine art.
The first project we’re loving this month is the Aura Installation by Nick Verstand, which was featured in Dutch Design Week. Upon visiting, individuals were supplied with multiple biosensors that register brainwaves, heart-rate variability and galvanic skin response. They were then asked to sit or lay down on the floor whilst a musical composition played in the background, aiming to trigger an emotional response. This data was then analysed and transformed into various forms, colours and intensities of light, displayed within the installation for everyone to view.
Nick’s main intention with the project was to further explore using light as a medium, and commented that ‘the installation symbolises the materialisation of internal metaphysical space into external physical space’.
We love the concept of using an unconventional medium to present data in an artistic way. The formations, colour and movement of the lights are open to interpretation, with visitors needing to associate these elements with various emotions. As regular visitors to art galleries, we believe there is an importance to experimenting with art to portray ideas, causing the audience to think beyond their initial understanding.
Excuse Me Chair
The second design project we’ve discovered this month is the Excuse Me chair designed by Yi-Fei Chen, a graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven. The chair is made up of a cushion stuffed with foam pellets which slowly inflate as the user sits, leading it to explode if they sit on it for too long. To deflate it, the user must pour water into a glass tube triggering a digital valve to release air.
Although this concept is impractical considering the primary function of a chair, it has actually been designed to represent the build-up of social anxiety. By needing to fetch water to deflate the chair, it gives the user an excuse to get up and escape an awkward conversation. Yi-Fen commented that in her native country, Taiwan, it is deemed impolite to use anxiety as an excuse to get out of social situations and wanted to find a way to tackle this issue through design.
This ingenious approach to representing something which is often difficult to explain really inspires us. Lately in design, mental health issues such as anxiety are being brought to light in quite cliché, predictable ways. It’s refreshing to see something so different and thought-provoking.
Cairngorms Scenic Photo Posts
Whilst watching an episode of Country File, our attention was drawn to a segment focusing on the Cairngorms Scenic Photo Posts project. This project involved placing 23 photo posts around the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland for individuals to place their cameras and phones within to take scenic photographs. These could then be uploaded to the dedicated website to create an archive of photographs taken over time.
Whilst initially it seems like a photography-based project for individuals to get involved in, its purpose is actually to collect important information to help better understand how landscape and habitats change. Patterns of snow fall, regeneration of trees and seasonal colour changes are only a few of the things the images taken could be used to investigate, gaining a better idea of how landscapes will look in the future. We love how something implemented for research purposes can also be highly valuable to visitors, allowing them to take beautiful shots at spots chosen for their perfect view of the area.
The final project we’re loving this month is a Bird Hut designed by Studio North, which is located in a forested hillside in Columbia Valley, British Columbia. It can accommodate two people, and 12 varieties of birds. The materials used within the birdhut were taken directly from the surroundings nearby, similar to the process birds go through to build their own nests. This process allows the hut to feel like a natural addition to the forest, without feeling too manmade.
It’s the cosiness and tranquillity of the hut that really draws us in, seeming like the perfect space to relax and feel at one with nature